Monthly Archives: October 2015

Monday Motivator: Ignore the Comments Section

Today, as I was eating lunch, I overheard a regular customer discussing his church with a waitress. They were having some trouble, he said. People were complaining about the minister. Then he added, “Of course, if they had to come say it face to face, there would be no issue. It’s only when you complain anonymously online that you think you can say the meanest and most hateful things and get away with it.”

I gave up reading comments sections to articles a while back, because, frankly, they gave me a bad attitude about my fellow humans for days. The nastiness, the snarkiness, the personal attacks. Life is too short to put up with such things. Still, although I suppose I should know better, I was still a little saddened at what I heard. I guess I’d hoped that churches could still be above such things.

Of course, hateful, back-stabbing, personal attacks are nothing new. They have just become easier to deliver in the virtual world. It’s one thing to ignore them when they are about celebrities, politicians, or anyone who happens to be in the news. But what about when they are aimed at you?

Well, here are my suggestions. (But with the disclosure that, more than once, mean remarks have put me in a corner with a packet of powdered sugar donuts, trying not to cry.)

  • I think the man at lunch nailed it. If there is a problem the person should come see you and talk about it. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s an anonymous attack, then it automatically doesn’t merit my attention.
  • Deflect tattle-tales. I’ve had people say, “X thinks you’re (fill in the blank), but don’t say anything because she’ll be mad at me.” I would anguish over this until I realized I couldn’t live this way. So now if I can stop the statement beforehand, I do. If not, I answer, “Then X needs to come talk to me about it.” (I’ve also come to realize that this is often a way for people to complain about me while blaming someone else for the complaint. But the same theory applies.)
  • Realize the only people who never get criticized don’t do much with their lives. There will always be people who think our beliefs and our choices are stupid. In most cases, unless you’ve asked for their opinion and/or they are bankrolling your dreams, they don’t get a vote.

Years ago, when Madonna divorced her husband, her hubby, in a less-than-gallant moment, reportedly said that making love to her was like “cuddling up to a piece of gristle.” There was one perfect celebrity response. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember who said it.) She said that men hated women for being too fat. And then Madonna was mocked for being too fit. The lesson was that women were always going to be judged unkindly, so the best bet was to just be happy with your body and live your life.

Anyone can make nasty comments. There are times we’re all going to be judged unkindly. Ignore the haters. And if you can’t ignore them, go ahead and eat your powdered-sugar donuts in the corner, but then get up and live your life with no regard for the comments section.

Recommendation Friday: Hugh Moffatt


Hugh Moffatt

Music Technology


The Art of Dramatic Writing


Lajos Egri

I strongly recommend anyone interested in creative narrative writing of any kind (songs, fiction, nonfiction, plays, screenplays) to read Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing. Storytelling is an ancient human craft that predates literacy; we told stories long before we could read or write. No matter what your genre, Egri will help you understand what it takes to tell a story well.


Monday Motivator: Have Faith that Things Will Come Together

Last month, I got out my Christmas songbooks, determined this was the year I would learn to play an entire song (as it was meant to be played). I chose “Here We Come A’wassailing” because it was a song we used to sing in grade school. (Why our music teacher thought a bunch of kids in rural Alabama knew anything about wassailing is still a mystery. But it’s a fun song.)

It has not been a pretty process. The first time I attempted the song, it sounded like a dirge. A long dirge. It took about twenty minutes for me to find the notes. The second time wasn’t much better. Or the third. Or the thirtieth.

In fact, I grew so despondent that I just leafed through the book, playing a different song (badly) each day, but concentrating on a different line in each song and repeating it to make my fingers stay on the right keys and get the rhythm in the ballpark at least.

Then two nights ago, I had come full circle and the next song in the book was again “Here We Come A’wassailing.” I started to play. Now, I was no Mozart. I wasn’t even a second-year elementary student. But I was better. My fingers moved more quickly to the right keys, and I could sing along with my attempt. Motivated, I stopped where I made mistakes and repeated the same measure until it worked.

I probably won’t be showcasing my Christmas song ability this year. But sometimes you just need the smallest indication that you are really learning in order to keep going. And I did. So I am.

Recommendation Friday: Diane Skrabec

Diane 2

Diane Skrabec

Culinary Arts Instructor, Southeast Campus


Heads in Beds


Jacob Tomsky

It’s a great look into the hospitality world and what’s its like to work in a field that’s open 365 days a year and where the customer is always right. The author started as a valet at the famous Copeland Restaurant in New Orleans and worked his way up through hotels to be a general manager of a luxury hotel in New York City. “Heads in  beds” is an industry term. This book is great for students in management and culinary arts.


Monday Motivator: Be “Furiously Happy”

Author’s note: If you are offended by profanity, do not consult the book or blog I’m about to mention.

Jenny Lawson suffers from moderate clinical depression and as well as several other disorders including, anxiety, impulse control, avoidant personality, and depersonalization. She has rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune issues. She is also one of the funniest people you’ll ever meet.

Also known as the Bloggess. Lawson’s latest book, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things, takes on her illnesses with her usual heart and no-hold-bars humor. She knows what it’s like to not be able to get out of bed for weeks at a time, and she has vowed when she is able to get out and about, she is going to be “furiously happy.”

Of course, being Jenny Lawson, this includes going to Australia to pose (dressed in a koala suit) with a koala. Ditto with a kangaroo. It involves dealing with a cannonballing possum in her pool and carrying on a feud with neighborhood swans.

At a recent stop at a Salon@615 event in Nashville, the audience was equally entertained by her outrageous humor and inspired by her frank discussion of the illnesses that plague her. For all of us, she is a role model.

Too often we let our weaknesses define us. But as Lawson reminds us, we don’t have to. Even when we know the reprieve is temporary, we have an interim in which we can bemoan our fate or be furiously happy.

For me, I have decided to always choose the latter.

Recommendation Friday: Quincy Rhoads


Quincy Rhoads

English Instructor, Clarksville Campus


This is water : some thoughts, delivered on a significant occasion about living a compassionate life

by David Foster Wallace

College can seem like a bewildering and overwhelming time and so rarely can a book crystallize a student’s purpose in just the right way. Fortunately, David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech (reprinted as this book) articulates the point of higher education so well that I’m haunted by it on a near daily basis.